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D-Backs 5, Atlanta 3: Return to Normalcy

TL;DR: The hits were timely, the speed was sublime, and the pitching was stingy to lead the D-Backs to a series win.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves
Ryne Nelson showing exactly the potential the D-Backs saw in him.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After last night’s wackiness, in which the two teams combined for 29 runs on 27 hits, I suspect we were all looking for a bit more normalcy - or at least a final score that doesn’t remind one of a football rather than baseball score. For those that missed the game, feel free to check out Dano’s recap of the absurdity here. On a macro level, the D-Backs returned to a version of normalcy on Wednesday night - or at least a return to the blueprint that has catapulted them into playoff contention for the first time since 2017: patient at-bats, speed, stingy pitching, and timely hitting. But there was plenty to celebrate on the micro too as Ryne Nelson put together his best start in 2023 and the bullpen (mostly) slammed the door in relief.

It didn’t take long for the D-Backs’ offense to continue right where it left off last night as Christian Walker leadoff the second with a double before the D-Backs got the first of their two-out RBIs with a ground rule double from Gabriel Moreno. They would strike again in the next inning as Jake McCarthy singled to center and then stole second before back-to-back walks from Corbin Carroll and Christian Walker loaded the bases for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gurriel delivered much as he has for most of the year - with a double down the line that scored both Carroll and McCarthy to stake Ryne to an early 3-1 lead.

Ryne excellently responded to the surprising run support by shutting down the Atlanta offense to the tune of just five baserunners across his seven innings and making just two bad mistakes to Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna who both whalloped solo home runs. Otherwise, he was able to navigate traffic in the only other threatening inning during the sixth when Michael Harris II tripled down the right field line ahead of the top of the Braves lineup in Ronald Acuna Jr and Ozzie Albies. Instead, Nelson induced weak contact from Acuna and Albies to strand Harris II and preserve what was then a three-run lead. The D-Backs would extend the lead once more in the eighth courtesy of their speed and timely hitting. After Walker and Moreno got aboard on a single and walk respectively, Ahmed delivered for the second time in the game with a hard-hit single up the middle that caromed off Albies’ glove and allowed Walker to score for the D-Backs their fifth and final run.

After Kyle Nelson worked a perfect eighth, Ginkel entered looking for just his second save of the year and did not have his best performance of the year. Acuna leadoff the inning with a hustle double through the infield gap and advanced to third on a sacrifice fly from Riley. That’s when things got a bit heated as Acuna attempted to distract Ginkel by taking an extremely aggressive lead down the third-base line, which prompted an interestingly combative walk-back from Ginkel. Unfortunately, Acuna would get the last word in as he scored in the next at-bat off a wild pitch/passed ball (depending on your definition) to give us our final of 5-2. Luckily for the D-Backs, Ginkel got the last response of the night as he induced a weak groundout from Sean Murphy that sealed the game and the series.

This series has already been a much-needed palate cleanser from the meshugana that was the Toronto series. Hopefully, the D-Backs can continue their ways with Gallentine Day on the horizon facing off against one of the sport’s best in Spencer Strider.